I have to admit, I have been procrastinating this post. I wanted it to be perfect. However, my original intention was to speak from the heart, not win a writing award so I am going to do just that...share from the heart. I am not getting any younger. I am only middle aged if I live into my 90's. ;) When I got to the second half of life I sure did start realizing that if I wasn't before, it was time to make every day count.
I know many have defined their priorities as God first, my family/loved ones second, me third. I don't live that way and I don't agree with the sentiment. Life is never that neat and tidy. It's too messy for such lines. Here are my priorities: God is first, God is second and God is third and may He grant me the wisdom to know what I should be doing for him at each moment. God cares about my family and about me. He can show what to do at every given moment. My job is to lay down my life, my desires and wishes, my priorities, my responsibilities, my passions, my drudgery, my joy to His Sovereign control and allow Him to show me which piece to pick up when. And I will be learning to discern that until I see Him face to face...
Having said that, I desire...
To be on God's mission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19
To do so means I have to be functioning in a church with the same mission, where I see God working and can join in the work. I have to be in a church where my gifts can be utilized to build the kingdom.
I can't leave my family behind. My husband is the head of my home and we have to be on the same page. My children need to be raised in the Lord, to each be one of my (and my husband's) disciples. We need to make disciples of them. God put my family on one team together. This is a great challenge. It's thrilling, fulfilling, aggravating, humbling, and one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Frankly, being a wife and mom keeps me humbled and on my knees crying out to God for wisdom and empowerment, begging for Him to work and move among us! Having said that,
I want to be the wife and mother God wants me to be. "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5
There are times I have been involved in a very fulfilling ministry and I've had to lay it down because someone in my family needs me. I am needed at home and cannot continue in a certain activity that takes place outside the home. Does this mean I am not putting God first? No, not if He is the one who handed me the directed to serve in my home.
This is an area I have been really praying we grow in, that of ministering as a family. I have one child who is not living with us right now while he is in college. But I still desire to work as a family with whomever is here and all of us together when we are together. I am still praying through it and working through it.
My husband is leading the Youth Ministry at our church and this is helping a great deal. I get to see my teens in a new light and a new context and see them working with their leaders and peers (I help out with Youth Group). As we minister as a youth group, I enjoy having my kids right there with my on outreaches and such. We can talk over this ministry as a family and they give us valuable input. I know it is a step in the right direction! The bonus is all the other awesome teens and leaders we get to work with!
I'd like to take many of the ministry ideas we get in Youth Group and take some time for just our family to do some of these things.
You see, previously, we had so many activities going that they were separating us as a family. Now I love watching my kids do what they love and are good at and I love other healthy adults encouraging them along the way. But it had all gotten out of balance and we were spending too much time off in different directions. When we would rejoin each other we were either schooling or crashing!
Sister, daughter, friend...Family far away presents a big challenge to me. I am horrible about making phone calls and this is something I really need to work on as using the Post Office!!
My desire is a to an encouraging person to my family and friends. I want to point them to Jesus. I love to laugh with them, talk with them, read the Bible together, encourage each other in ministry, and just enjoy time together.
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25
Living on purpose means deciding what you want your life to look like and then making the necessary changes to get there. As a member of a family, you all have to be on the same page. If you are not that will change what your goals can be. There are times when we are not on the same page and I am convinced of a needed change. I pray and let God do the changing. If He doesn't I assume He has something else for me, at least for now.
Living on purpose is more of a simpler life because you remove what doesn't fit your goals. It's looking for the one thing in each moment that God wants you to do. It takes focus and a constant praying and readjusting.
I don't want to get to the end of my life and look over wasted days and wasted time. I want the assurance of knowing I did what I was called to do. Will it be perfect? No. But I at least want to know I was walking on the right paths, spending my resources in the right places. There's just no time for detours.
"There is nothing worth living for unless it is worth dying for." ~Elisabeth Elliot